by Howard Campbell
[SOUTH FLORIDA] – It was the summer of 1985. Music producer Willie Lindo, based in New York, headed to Jamaica for a meeting with singer Beres Hammond. He was concerned that “What One Dance Can Do“, a song he wrote and produced for him, was going nowhere.
“When it come out in the first three months nothing never gwaan (happen) for it but when mi reach Jamaica, Beres sey to mi, ‘Willie, I want yuh do something with mi later’,” Lindo recalled.
Hammond took him club-hopping and Lindo saw firsthand the crowd reaction to What One Dance Can Do.
“When dem (club DJ) put it on everybody get up an’ dance. From that time, mi realize sey something a guh gwaan,” said Lindo.
“What One Dance Can Do” was a monster hit and one of the biggest reggae songs for 1985. While Hammond had well-received songs like One Step Ahead and I’m in Love, they were soul ballads that appealed to conservative Jamaicans.
‘One Dance’ made him a dancehall star in Jamaica and the Diaspora and he has never looked back. For the next 20 years, ‘Cudjoe’ ruled the charts with a flood of hit songs that earned him the title of ‘King of Lovers Rock ‘.
That came after years of fighting in the trenches for recognition as a solo act and as lead singer of Zap Pow, a progressive reggae band that included bassist Mikey Williams and guitarist Dwight Pinkney.
Beres Hammond will be headliner for Best Of The Best Concert at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami on May 29. The following are some of the songs he is likely to perform.
Beres Hammond Best of the Best Songs
One Step Ahead (1979) — Produced by Willie Lindo and written by Harold Butler, this timeless ballad is from the Lindo-produced Soul Reggae album.
Step Aside Now (1991) — Beres shows his bravado on this rocker, done to the beat of Dennis Walks’ Drifter. Produced by Rodguel “Black Beard” Sinclair.
Double Trouble (1993) — A clever recollection of staying out late and sneaking back in without the wife knowing. Produced by Steely and Clevie.
Putting up Resistance (1993) — A working-class anthem, Beres wails about keeping his head above water on this Tappa Zukie production.
Rock Away (1995) — The singer remembers his heroes, from Otis Redding to The Spinners and Dennis Brown, on this self-produced, easy-listening gem.
Can’t Stop A Man (1995) — Lovers rock at its finest. Produced by Beres for his Harmony House label.
They Gonna Talk (2001) — Beres tells his lady love not to mind the gossip. Love is inevitable. Another winner for Harmony House.